HBO and “Sesame Street” nailed the mash-up game on Thursday by turning Elmo into a peace-broker on “Game of Thrones” and casting Cookie Monster as the newest — if not strangest — visitor to “Westworld.”
The red and blue “Sesame Street” stars’ appearances on HBO’s adult dramas may have seemed like clickbait at first blush, but they do have meaning and lessons behind them: respect.
Elmo’s cameo in a tense “Game of Thrones” scene on Thursday capitalized on the insatiable appetite for the fantasy drama’s final season and featured estranged siblings Cersei (Lena Headey) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), as usual, trading barbs and threats.
“Elmo thinks that you two need to respect each other,” the knighted puppet says when he surprisingly pops up at a small council table in King’s Landing. “When Elmo has a problem with his friends like Abby or Cookie Monster, Elmo doesn’t get upset. Elmo listens and learns from what they have to say.”
Tyrion, the ever-flexible Lannister, then appeals to the Queen; and though it wasn’t quite bending the knee, Cersei agrees to try to respect him too. It’s not as good as the 2015 “Game of Chairs” parody, but we’ll take any real truce in Westeros that we can get.
Meanwhile, Cookie Monster paid a visit to HBO’s futuristic Western, “Westworld,” where he pitches a “SesameWorld” parody and encourages Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) to work together too.
“Respect important for everybody. People. Monsters. Even you, robot lady,” the blue puppet says, telling the rivals that they have to “give respect to get respect.” (There’s even an old-timey version of the show’s iconic theme song to boot.)
The cameos are all part of Sesame Workshop’s “Respect Brings Us Together” campaign, which the children’s programmer launched Thursday to kick off its 50th-anniversary celebration.
“Our society is increasingly divided on many issues, and we know that kids pick up on this tension. We have always shown preschoolers that everyone is welcome on ‘Sesame Street,’” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, in a statement about the campaign on Thursday.
“Our hope with this campaign is that a lighthearted look at a very serious subject can help us all pause for a moment to remember the value in respecting the viewpoints of others, even when they differ greatly from our own,” Dunn added.